British PM appoints suicide prevention minister
A minister for suicide prevention has been appointed in England by the prime minister as the government hosts the first ever global mental health summit.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the appointment of Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price to the new role will help tackle the stigma surrounding suicide, BBC wrote.
While suicide rates are falling, 4,500 people take their own lives every year.
The appointment comes as ministers and officials from more than 50 countries assemble in London for the summit.
Wednesday’s meeting — hosted by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — coincides with World Mental Health Day.
The government has also promised more support in schools, bringing in new mental health support teams and offering help in measuring students’ health, including their mental wellbeing.
May said: “We can end the stigma that has forced too many to suffer in silence and prevent the tragedy of suicide taking too many lives.”
Alongside the announcement, the prime minister pledged £1.8 million to the Samaritans so the charity can continue providing its free helpline for the next four years.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling, there are a number of charities here to help.
Hannah Lewis — who campaigns for improvements to mental health services having suffered from panic attacks, anxiety and suicidal thoughts as a teenager — said that it can be a year before someone who is referred for help actually begins treatment.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “Mental health is known to deteriorate when you are left without help, and you can only imagine how things got worse with me.”
Lewis welcomed the government’s announcement —
especially the proposals to bring more awareness of mental health into schools — but she added: “More joined-up working at schools and early intervention is great, but we need to make sure then there are sufficient services to be signposted to.”
Doyle-Price, who has been an MP since 2010, will now become the minister for mental health, inequalities and suicide prevention.
As health is devolved separately to the UK’s four nations, her role will include making sure each local area in England has effective plans to stop unnecessary deaths and to look into how technology could help identify those at risk.
She said she understood the “tragic, devastating and long-lasting” effect of suicide on families, having met some of those bereaved.
“It’s these people who need to be at the heart of what we do,” she added.
Manchester University’s Prof. Louis Appleby, one of the country’s leading experts on suicide, said having a minister for suicide prevention would ‘open doors’ and make it easier to have conversations about the role such things as benefits and online gambling have in suicidal people’s lives.
Hancock said the appointment would also help with getting support for mental illness on a par with services for physical health.
“There is a long road to travel to get there. This is not something you solve overnight,” he said.
Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity Sane, said there had not been enough improvements to services since May pledged to tackle the issue two years ago.
“While we applaud the intention [of the announcement], it is striking that the UK should be hosting such a summit when we hear daily about people left untreated due to a lack of nurses and doctors,” she said.
“The prime minister must examine our own mental health system before addressing other countries.”
IVF success rate has been increased to 85 percent
Thousands of women undergoing IVF could save the agony of miscarriages and stillbirths through artificial intelligence.
A machine has been developed that can select embryos that are likely to give a live birth with astounding accuracy of 85 percent, archyworldys.com wrote.
Researchers say robotic learning will ‘revolutionize’ IVF and become available to NHS hospitals within five years.
Couples desperately seeking children could dramatically improve birth rates as British physicians email a photograph of their embryo and receive a response within minutes.
The technology was developed jointly by Imperial College London and Cornell University in New York.
It uses time lapse photos of embryos in an incubator that currently help medics most likely to lead a baby.
About half of the early pregnancy losses are due to the fact that the embryo has an abnormal number of
The breakthrough was honored this week with an award at Denver, the world’s largest fertility conference.
Dr. Nikica Zaninovic, who led the study at Cornell University, said, “If AI can detect normal and chromosomally abnormal embryos, it results in a reduced miscarriage and stillbirth rate, which is really our main reason for doing research.
“This research is something really new and a success rate of 85 percent is enormous.”
For women under the age of 35, with no further health problems, the IVF live birth rate could increase to as much as 70 percent, said Zaninovic.
Currently, the proportion of NHS among under-35s is 30 percent.
The use of time-lapse photography technique to choose embryos without the help of AI, has been around since 2010.
The embryos remain in an incubator and a photograph is taken every 10 minutes to measure growth.
Computers then produce data to help medics choose an embryo to implant the mother.
Scientists have fed a New York supercomputer — nicknamed ‘The Beast’ — with thousands of historical images to ‘teach’ what to look for in successful embryos.
It was told those who led to a live birth in which pregnancies failed or led to stillbirths.
Dr. Zaninovic, whose team is currently patenting the technology, said, “All I need is patient information from a hospital in London and the image of the embryo, and I can put this into the computer.
“It’s all web-based, it does not mean every hospital needs it, it can easily be done over the Internet.”
He added, “Within five years, it will be routinely used in clinical settings.”
The beast received more than 50,000 images from more than 10,000 embryos.
In a retrospective experiment, single images of 328 embryos were implanted in potential mothers.
When asked which of these would have led to a live birth, he chose 280 correctly.
The rate of 85 percent is well above what researchers of a human embryologist expect, with current standards varying from clinic to clinic.
Researchers say it is ‘almost 100 percent’ because about 15 percent of the reasons why live births do not happen are due to problems in the womb.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
Some UK clinics use time-lapse photography technology to help clinicians decide which embryo to choose.
Evidence of whether it is improving successful birth rates in its present form is mixed.
Some believe that these
measurements help to improve the success rate, partly because embryos do not have to be handled by scientists for five days.
Leading UK fertility specialist Proffessor Allan Pacey of Sheffield University said: “The ability to observe the development of embryos using time-lapse systems has greatly developed in recent years and these devices have become commonplace in clinical practice.
“So far, however, the data has not found out that they actually help to select the best embryo and improve the chances of getting pregnant.
“Therefore, the application of artificial intelligence to data collected from time-lapse systems is a very good idea because it can find patterns and algorithms that are invisible to the human eye.”
Professor Charles Kingsland founded Britain’s largest NHS IVF unit, the Hewitt IVF Center in Liverpool, which was the first company to successfully use time-lapse technology.
China approves 17 anti-cancer drugs for medical insurance coverage
China has approved 17 anti-cancer drugs for inclusion in its national health insurance system, the government said on Wednesday, part of its efforts to make cancer treatment more affordable as the number of cases increases.
China’s State Medical Insurance Administration has been in negotiations with domestic and overseas pharmaceutical companies to lower prices and put more cancer drugs on the list of medicines eligible for reimbursement, Reuters reported.
The administration said in a notice that the negotiations were a major part of the government’s strategy to make cancer drugs more affordable to the general public. The 17 drugs, which include azacitidine, will remain eligible until Nov. 30, 2020.
China’s cancer rates have been soaring, driven by growing numbers of over-60s, heavy smoking among men and exposure to pollution. The National Cancer Center said last year there were 4.29 million new cases every year and 2.81 million deaths.
China has vowed to improve the five-year cancer survival rate by 15 percentage points by 2030. The rate stood at 30 percent in 2015, half the US level.
Existing drug shows promise for treating aggressive breast cancer
An existing antipsychotic drug could become the first targeted treatment for an aggressive type of breast cancer that is hard to treat.
A study led by the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom reveals that the drug pimozide can reduce cancer cell numbers, growth, and spread in triple-negative breast cancer, medicalnewstoday.com reported.
In a paper that is to feature in the journal Oncotarget, the researchers describe how they used laboratory cells and mice implanted with tumors to demonstrate the drug’s effect.
Some of the tests they carried out also suggest that pimozide could be effective against non-small cell lung cancer, which is the most common form of lung cancer.
Following this success, the team has applied for a patent and intends to start clinical trials in humans as soon as funds permit.
Triple-negative breast cancer is a type of breast cancer in which pathology tests return negative results for three types of receptor: Estrogen (ER), progesterone (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Around 10–20 percent of breast cancer cases are of this type.
Receptors are cell proteins that specialize in receiving signals that control cell properties, such as growth.
When breast cancer tests are negative for all three receptors (ER-, PR-, and HER-), it means that none of them drive growth and that hormone therapies that target them — such as tamoxifen and trastuzumab — will have little effect on cancer progression.
“Triple-negative breast cancer,” said lead investigator Mohamed El-Tanani, who is a professor of molecular pathology and cancer therapeutics at the University of Bradford, ‘has lower survival rates and increased risk of recurrence’.
Currently, few treatments target the unique molecular features of triple-negative breast cancer. The findings of Prof. El-Tanani and his colleagues suggest that pimozide could fill this gap.
“And because this drug is already in clinical use, it could move quickly into clinical trials,” he explained.
Some other antipsychotic drugs may also have anticancer effects. Although some studies have found lower rates of cancer in people taking antipsychotics for the treatment of schizophrenia, other studies are inconclusive.
Pimozide is an antipsychotic ‘neuroleptic drug’ that the US has approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome. Previous studies have indicated that it could be effective against various cancers, but the molecular mechanisms involved are not known.
Professor El-Tanani and his team previously identified that a protein called RanGTP is a key driver of growth and spread in triple-negative breast and other cancers.
For the new investigation, they screened thousands of approved drugs for their potential to block the protein. Pimozide emerged as the most promising candidate.
They then tested various doses of the drug on healthy breast cells, triple-negative breast cancer cells, and non-small cell lung cancer cells.
The highest dose of pimozide killed up to 90 percent of the cancer cells but only five percent of the healthy ones.
Mice with triple-negative breast cancer implants treated with pimozide showed a 61-percent decrease in the number of tumors, and a 65-percent reduction in tumor size, compared with untreated mice.
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres in his message on World Mental Health Day, Oct. 10. 2018, warned that one in five young people will experience a mental health problem this year.